Norsktroll, our Euro born, occasionally Euro based expert in all things international basketball has put together some scouting reports for the foreign prospects in this draft - Tim
Kristaps Porzingis, 7’0“ PF, Latvia, 1995
Strengths: Shooting ability out to 3P range. Potentially able to create for himself not just in pick and pop situations. Strong footwork. Athletic with the ability to play above the rim on both ends. Good lateral quickness on the defensive end, tries to contest shots though hardly a rim protector.
Weaknesses: Thin frame, light weight, thus probably not suitable as a traditional 5 despite his size. Likely would get pushed around too much. No discernible post-up skills yet. Does not draw many fouls (4.5 per 40). Not a really good passer.
Best case: Cliff Robinson meets Pau Gasol
Most likely: Channing Frye (potentially a more athletic one)
Hopefully won’t be: Andrea Bargnani, Charlie Villanueva and Andris Biedrins come into a bar…
Blazers fit: Probably not, he seems to replicate too much of what Meyers (and Aldridge) already is, who could serve as another comparison
Emmanuel Mudiay, 6’5“ PG/SG, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1996
I can’t say I’m following the Chinese Basketball Association closely, so the following observations are taken from other people’s scouting reports, the Hoop Summit, and some highlight mixes.
Strengths: Seems able to work well in pick and roll situations both as a scorer and playmaker. Good understanding of the game. Good handles, able to change direction effortlessly. Very athletic, can play „above the rim“ with his 6’5“ size and 6’9“ wingspan. Averaged 18 points and 6 assists in China.
Weaknesses: Poor shot selection. Fairly turnover-prone (3+ per game). Not very assertive (playing „down“ to competition at times). Might be a below-average FT shooter.
Best case: Russell Westbrook
Most likely: Early career John Wall
Hopefully won’t be: Tyreke Evans, Tony Wroten
Blazers fit: No real need with Lillard in place, who could serve as another comparison but is already a proven shooter
Mario Hezonja, 6’7“, SG, Croatia (plays in Spain), 1995
His decision to keep playing on a strong Barcelona team barely getting minutes looked bad early in the season, and was annoying for scouts and NBA managers just in attendance to see him flying back home only with remarks on his poor body language while sitting on the bench. Then due to injuries to Navarro and another player he saw a significant boost, which put new life into his draft stock.
Strengths: MVP of various youth teams. Has been on the NBA radar for a long time, scrutinized and regarded as a top prospect as a scorer at least since he was 16. High level athleticism, great body control, solid shooter with a good form, could become a good passer/facilitator.
Weaknesses: Most of his weaknesses seem mental and potentially correctable by the right coach and right environment. At times seems completely uninterested in playing defense (despite arguably having the physical tools to be a good defender), which was a problem playing for a coach really valuing defense and thus giving him DNP-CDs in both the Spanish league and Euroleague. Sometimes moping when he gets no playing time. At times arguing with own teammates. Can be selfish playing „hero ball“ (which could be a pro, too, since some scouts see him just as very competitive and self-confident a la Kobe). Not very strong. Not much of a mid-range game. Does not draw a lot of fouls. Too right-hand dominant making it hard for him to change speed and direction.
Best case: Joe Johnson
Most likely: Gordon Hayward (he seems to combine aspects of many players including Rudy, Peja, Matthews, … so it’s hard to find a total fit)
Hopefully won’t be: Lance Stephenson, especially the 2014-15 edition
Blazers fit: Would be nice, but probably going way too high
Late First and Early Second Rounders
Guillermo „Willy“ Hernangomez, 6’11“ C/PF, Spain, 1994
Strengths: Really good frame for his age, pretty bulky at ca. 255 lbs. but not lumbering, very strong lower body, strong rebounder, some experience training with elite Spanish national team and on championship-winning ACB team
Weaknesses: Has not displayed outstanding athleticism so far relying rather on his big body, got significant minutes only after being rented out to a weaker team in Sevilla by Real Madrid that actually owns his rights after not being able to crack the rotation there, contract situation in Europe is somewhat unclear (until 2017, buyout?)
Could be: Steven Adams
Blazers fit: Rather would need a top free agent center in case Lopez leaves. Unclear if they need another backup center prospect should Freeland leave.
Nikola Milutinovic, 6’11“ C, Serbia, 1994
Strengths: Size (NBA even lists him at 7’0“) and wingspan, great mobility/footwork, can score with either hand, excellent jump shot form for a big man though not long range yet, high game awareness for his age, can defend rim with verticality although not a great leaper, decent passer, has developed noticeably the last season, has displayed toughness playing against better teams and through injury
Weaknesses: Unclear contract situation for next season but could be used to keep developing in Europe, still a raw prospect offensively needing to keep working on shot and post game, needs to add bulk to his thin frame
Best case: Nikola Vucevic
Could be: Anderson Varejao
Blazers fit: Potentially down the road looking at 2016+ instead of a guy providing instant offense
Late Second Round to Undrafted
Cedi Osman, 6’8“ SF/SG, Macedonia (plays in Turkey), 1995
Strengths: Already has Euroleague experience at a young age, high BBIQ, MVP of U20 European Championships, versatile player who can do almost everything well, high energy/hustle player, rebounds better than his size especially defensively (18%), highlights show ability for weakside and chase-down blocks indicating NBA-level athleticism, willingness and potential ability to defend multiple positions. At times he has looked better than hyped teammate Dario Saric, the 12th pick in the 2014 draft.
Weaknesses: Could already be fairly close to his ceiling, not an outstanding shooter with weak form which limits his appeal as a „two way“/3&D wing player
Intangibles: Star of a Head&Shoulders commercial in Turkey (www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTXWhu3zPSc)
Best case: Evan Turner (closer to the draft hype version than the NBA one)
Could be: Taller Iman Shumpert
Hopefully won’t be: Jiri Welsch
Blazers fit: Could use a versatile wing backup player with strong defensive ability, but maybe not the right player for the „Stottsfense“
Arturas Gudaitis, 6’10“ PF/C, Lithuania (plays in Serbia), 1993
Strengths: Good size and bulk for a PF (250+ lbs), strong, fairly explosive, good pick and roll player, might develop 3P shooting range
Weaknesses: Playing limited minutes for top team, game awareness, creating shots, bad shooting mechanics
Could be: Darius Songaila
Mouhammadou Jaiteh, 6’11“ C, France, 1994
Strengths: Visible improvement from last season, played limited minutes with Nic on national team, 7’4“ wingspan, physical presence in the paint, efficient scorer. Has been on the NBA radar for a while, allegedly already received promises from teams in 2013 but decided to withdraw.
Weaknesses: Struggled in the past to get consistent minutes on a fairly weak team and league, has maybe not improved dramatically enough in the past 2-3 years so could already be close to his ceiling, lacks offensive polish, lacks defensive quickness to defend the pick and roll
Best case: Hassan Whiteside in Miami
Could be: Joel Anthony, Adonal Foyle
Hopefully won’t be: The version of Hassan Whiteside that dropped out of the league
Daniel „Dani“ Diez, 6’7“ SG/SF, Spain, 1993
Strengths: Both a slasher and a shooter though mostly playing off the ball, one of the best 3P shooters in the draft (on 6.4 attempts per 40), great in catch-and-shoot situations, potential to be a 40+% 3P shooter, good feel for the game, reputation as a tough competitive player, led Spanish U-20 team in scoring, received the equivalent of „player of the week“ in ACB last year, good rebounder for position
Weaknesses: T-Rex arms giving him a terrible wingspan smaller than his height, not very strong or athletic, mediocre ball handler, lateral quickness on defense a question mark, might not come over immediately (Real Madrid trying to keep him locked up) so rather a draft-and-stash candidate
Best case: Taller J.J. Redick
Blazers fit: Potentially if they want another good off-ball shooter but are not in love with any of the available US players
Mateusz Ponitka, 6’6“ SG, Poland (plays in Belgium), 1993
Strengths: Athletic off-guard, aggressive scorer on drives, decent 3P shot (mid-30s to 40%), might be able to play as a SF too
Weaknesses: Double digit scorer in a weak league not comparative to NBA, not very quick, no significant improvement over last year even seeming to somewhat lose his shooting touch as he put on more muscles
Best case: Ricky Davis
Could be: Fred Hoiberg
Andzejs Pasecniks, 7’1“ C, Latvia, 1995 -> Some sites say he has withdraw, NBA.com still lists him as a prospect
Strengths: Very good size for a typical center, long arms, still young
Weaknesses: Needs to add bulk to play against NBA bigs (ca. 220 lbs), scouts attest him that he shies away too much from contact, needs to work on jump shot, no significant role on current team in league with less competition
Best case: Marcus Camby
Could be: Poor man’s Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Luka Mitrovic, 6’9“ SF/PF, Serbia, 1993
Strengths: Strong play at 2013 EuroBasket averaging 15 and 8, Euroleague experience, potential as a stretch 4 player, scouts attest him „NBA readiness“
Weaknesses: Not very athletic by NBA standards, can get pushed off by bigger players, not a good shooter yet (though Adriatic league numbers at 34% 3P shooting much better than Euroleague), could be a „tweener“ without a natural position fit
Could be: Jon Leuer
Nikola Radicevic, 6’5“ PG/SG, Serbia (plays in Spain), 1994
Strenghts: MVP of a major youth tournament in 2012 (Dirk and Nic also went through there). Plays on same team with Porzingis and Hernangomez in Spain initially as a starter, then as a backup. Could become a decent 3P shooter (even with better rates in Eurocup than in ACB), solid court vision, good size if he can play PG in NBA, in Europe he is able to make passes over defenses that smaller guards can’t, left-handed. Reportedly has drawn interest from Thunder, Nuggets and Wizards.
Weaknesses: Poor FT shooter for position around 65%, jump shot needs work against NBA defenders (low release, inconsistent), not extremely athletic for either guard spot making it harder to finish around the rim, can struggle with turnovers
Could be: Alexey Shved
Luis Montero, 6’7“ SG/SF, Dominican Republic (played at a high school and community college in US), 1993
Strengths: Big guard potentially able to play multiple positions, good ball handler and passer, strong in transition, can create for himself slashing to the basket
Weaknesses: Still lack of strength and bulk despite having added to that, level of competition makes it hard to compare to NBA, there have been varying reports about his age before which often is a red flag (standing out against younger players) but 1993 now seems to be right. This would make him older than e.g. Bradley Beal or Tony Wroten
Best case: In 2012 high school season observers raved about potential Anfernee Hardaway comparisons
Could be: More recently drew comparison to Qyntel Woods and Ricky Ledo
Satnam Singh Bahamara, 7’2“ C, India (training at IMG Academy), 1995
Strengths: Huge body weighing ca. 290 lbs, good mobility for that enormous size, good shooting touch even from long range, high work ethic Weaknesses: Reportedly decided to declare for the draft due to being academically ineligible for the NCAA (speaks very little English), has to improve conditioning to be in „NBA ready“ shape, complete lack of experience playing against strong professional competition
Could be: Boom or bust, maybe drafted late and stashed in D-League or overseas to develop
Blazers fit: Was worked out pre-draft by the Blazers and a number of other curious teams, trying to get a grasp on the „international man of mystery“. Seems unlikely to contribute immediately but could potentially be a monster down the road.